Nelsonville is a classic Appalachian town along the Hocking River that relied on coal mining and brick making when it was settled in the 1800s. Today, it has a vibrant and historic arts district, and is ringed by natural areas that offer some of the best adventures for humans and doggos alike. While there are no veterinarians in Nelsonville itself, your sick or injured pooch will be well cared-for at any one of at least 4 animal hospitals in nearby Athens and Logan.
The Wayne National Forest is almost a quarter million acres of land to hike, bike, camp, and hunt. With over 300 miles of multi-use trails, the opportunities with your leashed fur-pup are many! The natural scenery is furtastic, and there are many historic sites in the park to explore. One place, Tinker’s Cave, is said to be where a local horse thief and his gang hid themselves and their stolen horses for years. Camping is another popular feature of the forest, which offers campgrounds for tents and RVs, trail-side and primitive tenting, and group camping. During hunting season, be sure to outfit yourself and your fur-buddy in blaze orange for your safety.
The Monday Creek area of the park provides opportunities for riding all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and off-highway motorcycles (OHMs). This trail system, with 9 trailheads along its route north of Nelsonville, provides approximately 75 miles of designated trails to off-road vehicle riders, mountain bikers, and hikers. Be sure to stay to the right when hiking with Fido, and keep him securely leashed to avoid mishaps with the motorized ATVs!
Whatever your favorite outdoor activity, the Nelsonville area is sure to offer something to please you and your doggo!
The Hockhocking Adena Bikeway has its trailhead in Nelsonville, and travels southeast to its other end in Athens. This dog-friendly multi-use, paved rail-trail passes through a college town, business districts and into the quiet forest, where you and your pup are likely to encounter wildlife and birds aplenty. Arf! Featuring multiple parking opportunities along the trail, plus restrooms, this is a hidden gem that shouldn’t be missed! If you're looking for a place to stay outdoors with your pup, look no further than pawtastic Happy Hills Campground, a dog- and family-friendly camping park that offers tent and RV camping, plus hiking/walking trails and a well-equipped camp store, showers, and laundry on their 45 acres. They also feature 3 cabins for those more interested in the creature comforts. There is plenty of space for you to roam with your pup, and the campground is close to Nelsonville's most popular attractions!
Athens is a city that abuts Nelsonville, and it is in this Athens neighborhood that you’ll find dog-friendly Bicentennial Park on the campus of Ohio University. This 3.5-acre park features a grassy lawn dotted with earthwork rectangles, some raised and some depressed, that are meant to resemble computer punch cards. Dogs are welcome here and throughout the campus on a leash, and this is a pawrfect spot to walk, romp or just laze with your favorite pooch. Also in this neighborhood is Emeriti Park, a scenic 4-acre area that features a pond, trees, a waterfall leading into a pond, and fountains. A great place for walking your fur-baby, it also provides a quiet, contemplative place to rest and reflect. Woofderful!
The Plains is an Athens neighborhood that is home to the West State Street Dog Park, a large, fenced area that features shade trees, agility equipment and drinking water for the pups. Its grassy surface is kind to Fido’s paws, and there are tables and chairs for the humans to relax and observe the mayhem. For socializing and exercising, this park is furbulous! The West State Street Park is also in this neighborhood, next to the dog park. It features plenty of space for walking with your leashed doggo, plus 2 picnic shelters with grill, electricity, and a restroom. Pawrfect for a sit-down and picnic with Fido and the family!
Just to the west of Nelsonville is Logan, and its city center is where you’ll find the pet-friendly Lake Logan State Park, a 318-acre day use park with water access for boat or paddle rides with your fur-pup, plus secluded trails circling the lake. Three trails totaling about 3.5 miles circle hilltops and pass through woodlands and lakeshore, and you may see fox, raccoon, and lots of waterfowl on your walk! Arf! With picnic areas and restrooms dispersed throughout the park, you will also find drinking water and a concession stand for those hungry or thirsty moments. Be aware that hunting is allowed in the park, so be sure to come prepared with blaze orange clothing for you and Fido!
This small community to the south of Nelsonville is home to the Fox Lake Wildlife Area, lying just a few miles west of Nelsonville and comprised of 421 acres. More than half of the area is wooded, with the rest featuring rolling hills, fields, Fox Lake itself, and a pond. Fox Lake is a popular place for launching a boat or paddle vessel from its several launching areas for a water trip, and your fur-pup is welcome to join you for the fun! Or take a hike with the pooch around the lake and across fields populated with small mammals, deer, and invertebrates like snakes, or amphibians like turtles and frogs. Fido will have a furbulous time sniffing around, but if you see a snake just leave it alone! Bird-watching is a popular pastime here, so don’t forget your binoculars!